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A LIBERAL RESPONDS TO MR. AS- Emotional responses are not logical, nor productive in problem solving.

Reader comment on item: Two Palestines, Anyone?
in response to reader comment: to Chris G, the researcher and social scientist, and oh! the liberal

Submitted by Chris G. (United States), Jun 26, 2007 at 01:38

Again I forgive you for trying to delegitimize me by making fun of me. You are greatly distorting what I said sir. What I advocate is understanding the world view and belief systems of Islamic extremists in order to understand their primary motivations. This requires dialog with extremists if you truly wish to understand them. I know it works because I have done it on public forums with people others had judged to be impossible to talk to. It is all a matter of understanding HOW to talk to them.

The more religious they are, the easier it is to do this actually. The less religious, emotionally and politically driven ones are the most difficult to deal with. Some you simply can not have dialog with. I also have no problems seeing terrorists hunted down and killed or arrested if done in a precise and accurate manner. What I am advocating however is encouraging and training military and police forces in ISLAMIC countries on how to do this in the name of Islam and backing it up with traditional Islamic theology. This is not the first time in Islamic history that mainstream Muslims have fought and wiped out radical extremists. That goes way back to the defeat of the Kharjite extremists early in Islamic history.

If America and Israel are the only ones fighting terrorists significantly and give the finger to all the Muslims who otherwise hate extremists, we look like we are attacking their religion because we are also blatantly and openly calling even peaceful Muslims (who are trying to do the right thing) terrorists. This, my friend, provides fertile recruiting ground for terrorists and only strengthens Islamic extremism. Once this reaches a crisis point, there is no turning back. Genocide becomes the only option as these Islamic nations develop nuclear weapons. I am 100% in support of preventing ANY new countries from attaining nuclear weapons technology.

Yes this includes Iran. The more countries have nukes, the greater the chance that some idiot will use them (especially radical idiots like Iran's President who by the way is hated by most Iranians).

What is frustrating is that you are refusing to give a point by point logical critique and instead you are using the debate strategy of destroying my argument by simply making fun of me using emotional based rhetoric. Some readers may love that and give you a big thumbs up. The more mature serious analysts however I hope will see that you end up looking immature and irrational doing that. I really wish you would put aside your emotions and seriously think about whether what I advocate is possible in a serious manner.

If you wish to critique my methodology as a social scientist, I can go into great detail into my exact methodology. But I must ask you what experience do you have studying the social sciences? What are your credentials? I DO NOT compare social science with mathematical sciences. That is comparing apples and oranges even though they are both fruit with a few similarties. The study of humans can not be broken down into ones and zeroes (at least not at this stage in science). Some of human behavioral studies can be quantified with statistical research. However, statistics alone can be misleading if the data put into it is faulty and other variables are not accounted for. This is a massive problem in quasi-experimental research.

Good anthropological research involves understanding such factors as politics, sociological factors, psychological factors, economic factors, religious factors, historical factors, environmental factors, geographic factors, cultural factors, etc… in a broad holistic manner. It involves careful sampling and research methodology in order to insure that target populations are representative of broader populations. It involves developing a network of informants along with key informants through which to check the validity of both research questions (by doing pre-testing) as well as by checking the answers received by informants to identical questions in order to measure validity.

Now, I am not saying that my research methodology is perfect. There are certainly weaknesses in it and I am definitely open to those criticisms. However this is buffered partly by the results of my experimental methods of dialog and other research on terrorist reform programs and on former extremists who have rejected terrorist type Islamic ideologies. So please don't tell me that anyone can do such research. You have no idea how demanding it is academically.

You may very well have a PhD in one of the logic oriented sciences such as engineering, chemistry, etc… However that does not mean you are an expert in cultural anthropology. You will not find me trying to argue and debate engineering or chemistry as I am ignorant of those fields aside from the very basics. Likewise, unless you have expertise in cultural anthropology and its methodologies, it is not wise to critique a field that you are ignorant of.

My own credentials are as follows:
I have a B.A. in Psychology and I am in the final stages of my graduate research in cultural anthropology. I have lived in and traveled to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Indonesia. I have spent years working with local Islamic communities. I have spent long hours in their mosques. I have attended several Islamic seminars. I have talked to many scholars from all Islamic maddhabs (schools of thought).

I am a former US Army Reserve soldier (experienced in a variety of weaponry and infantry tactics) and my area of research is in peace and conflict anthropology specifically in Islamic theology and alternative methods of counter-terrorism. My current research proposal has also been approved by members of the intelligence and military communities including one of the former J2's (Head of Intelligence) of the U.S. Airforce who has been helping me shop my research proposals around for further funding and program developments.

At the same time my research is not unethical and has been approved by various Islamic Imams and scholars as being highly supportive of traditional Islamic values. With that said, I do not seek necessarily to person by person convince every single terrorist personally that they are bad people and need to repent to Allah. You are right, that is silly and not practical. What I propose is using mass media to counter Al-Qaeda propaganda using traditional Islamic theology…. Theology which you absolutely refuse to acknowledge.

Instead what you and other neo-conservatives are doing here is SUPPORTING AL-QAEDA THEOLOGY.
That my friend makes my job EXTREMELY difficult especially when key members of the Bush administration listen to these arguments and dismiss those of traditional Muslim who are fighting against extremism. With no support, many such moderate Muslims may just throw up their arms and not even bother and just leave it to Allah when both sides (American neoconservatives and Islamic extremists) are attacking them.

So what I am saying is that neoconservatives are sending VERY mixed messages to the Islamic world. It does not surprise me in the least bit either, that there are Muslims responding on this site that are agreeing with your view of Islam. I guarantee you that when I question them (if they bother responding) as to what Shaykhs they follow as spiritual leaders, that their Shaykhs are followers of Sayeed Qutb, known radical Wahabbi/Salafi Shaykhs, or deviant Deobandi Shaykhs (although there are many legitimate and very good Deobandi scholars). Then you have the Shi'a radicals which are a whole other bunch of mixed nuts who follow very different paradigms of interpretation but who often share much in common with Sunni radicals in their methodology.

Within Shi'a Islam you also have a bunch of different schools of thoughts as well ranging from very moderate and liberal all the way to fanatical millenialists as well as those who are influenced by Sunni Wahhabi ideologies. A good overview of Shi'a Islam can be found in the book "The Shia Revival" by Vali Nasr, a professor at the Naval Post-graduate school who specializes in Middle East and South Asia politics. It is well written and not a difficult read.

Once you begin to understand the complexity and variety of Islamic beliefs and their relationship to current events, history, culture, and economics, you then begin to figure out how to solve the problem of Islamic extremism. If you believe I am wrong, then please by all means come up with superior data and methodology for ending the war on terror short of genocide.

By the way, I also AM NOT some blind supporter of Nancy Pelosi. Why you keep bringing her up on different posts is beyond me. I disagree with her on MANY issues. She went to Syria very naively and without a strong understanding of how Middle East politics works. Believe it or not but I spend a good deal of time debating just as passionately with the radical left in this country. On some issues I am fairly liberal, on other issues more conservative. That is why I call myself a moderate. I like to look at all sides of an issue in order to understand the complexity of an issue before coming to some ideas about a solution.

Finally…. If you have bothered to read this far, I hope that you will relax and think critically and logically about the points I make. I'm not expecting you to and probably you will give a three sentence response calling me a terrorist lover or a commie. But I hope that maybe you will surprise me and give me some good critical logical arguments rather then just emotional ones.

Chris G.

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